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Chapter 2 : The Subject of Work
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He says he's going to get a shower and, yeah, he probably means it, but he knows we're just going in circles, that we'll end up right back in bed. Which means he'll just get another one in the morning.
So, what's the point?
Like I said, it's to walk away and tease me.
Although I won't tell him and will continue to moan about him leaving the bed, he is nice to look at. And the teasing bit doesn't really work because he's nice to look at. But I actually would rather he stay here and continue to make my bad day better; he's scarily good at doing that. Probably because he's known me for so long.
Him leaving does give me the excuse I need to get up myself and make dinner, or whatever you call it at one in the morning. I find my underwear and pull them on, jumping up from Louis' unnaturally soft bed, and make my way into the kitchen just as I hear the shower being turned on.
Louis' kitchen is much bigger than mine, it's much better for me to work in. It's my favorite part of Louis' apartment - besides the bedroom, of course. The counters are black and made of marble with dark wood cabinets and a breakfast bar to work on; everything came with the apartment, it's the reason he bought it. At least, that's what he told me.
I tip the bag upside down carefully and let the ingredients fall onto the counter. It's a simple recipe, one I created myself, and shouldn't take more than a few minutes to prepare and a bit longer to cook. I start with the chicken pieces, throwing them into the pan, then I take the tomato and basil sauce, stirring as I pour. Once it's stirred thoroughly enough, I put the pan on the cooker and keep the heat low while I chop the potatoes. I add a bit of garlic and that pan goes next to the chicken. I turn up the heat and move to the living room, letting them cook.
Louis' apartment has long windows, that open up like the doors you'd get to lead to a balcony, except he doesn't have an actual balcony; he has these metal bars that stop at my waist and reminds me of a gate or some type of fence. I summon my jacket to me and open the windows to lean on the fence, fish through my pockets for my cigarettes and lighter and ignore the little voice in my head that tells me not to when I light one.
Louis hates that I smoke, he constantly goes on about the effects and the dangers to my health, but he never out right tells me to quit. That's one of the things I can admit I love about him, he doesn't push or try to make me do what he wants. He just... tries to give me a friendly push in the right direction. Well, that's what he would say to me, but I don't even really believe that. All I get is the facts, like the dangers of smoking, or the benefits of doing something, like following through with what I want to do with my life.
The only time he's ever demanded something from me and actually wanted me to listen was after I had knocked myself out and ended up in St. Mungo's.
I keep a check on the clock on Louis' wall while I smoke, careful to make sure I keep my hand out of the window; given that the wind is blowing my way it's not really keeping the smoke out, but the pretense will make the man happy.
"Thank you for opening the window first," he says, walking into the room. "What's cooking?"
I finish the cigarette and drop it. "Food."
I turn to see his less than amused look and smile smugly. Louis stops in front of me and pulls me inside by the hem of my underwear. "Ha ha," he mutters.
"I am hilarious," I play along. "I should totally be a comedian."
Louis doesn't answer to that, he just continues to pull me, keeping a small amount of distance between us. Cigarette breath, he calls it. He doesn't like like it. I close the distance, my mouth mere inches away from his; Louis pulls away.
"So, now you don't want me?" I ask mockingly. "I'm hurt, baby."
"I - you're making the chicken." Louis stops in front of the bar, close enough to smell the food, and abruptly changes the subject. I have no idea what he was about to say, he doesn't go back and I don't ask. "You know it's my favorite."
"I do," I nod, stepping away to go back to the cooker. "I wasn't going to, given what you did with Sean at the café, but since I am technically using you, I figured I'd let you have your favorite meal."
"I'm honored," Louis mutters dryly. It doesn't take away how much he's obviously looking forward to now eating.
Turning around, I tell him to get the plates while I turn off the heat and as soon as they're on the marble top beside me, I'm pouring and preparing our meals. We sit across from each other on the breakfast bar, quietly eating our early morning meals, until we're almost done.
"Do you remember the first time you made this for me?" Louis asks between mouthfuls.
I can't help the small chuckle that escapes my lips as I remember that day. I know Louis remembers, too; we had a good laugh about it while we ate. We were sixteen, had been 'seeing each other' - sleeping together - for almost a year by then, and he'd conned me into finally getting a date.
"I remember the house elves yelling at me because I was in their kitchen and wouldn't let them touch anything, so I grabbed the first things I could and threw them together before they could kick me out," I answer.
"You put it in a box, grabbed me as I was walking into the Great Hall and took me to the lake," Louis continues, not losing his smile. "Do you know why this is my favorite?"
"Because it's just that good," I guess, shaking my head. I have no idea; I honestly can't remember him ever telling me. I know I'd remember if he had; I may not agree with his whole 'we're a couple' speech, but I've never forgotten the things that matter to him. Especially when they really matter.
"Because it's the very first thing you made for me, or gave me in general," he tells me softly, playing with a piece of chicken. "It felt like a positive step in our relationship, like I mattered to you."
Louis doesn't look at me as he tells me this, he stabs the chicken and pulls it off the fork with his teeth, scraping the metal. I have no idea what to say, so I keep my mouth shut, trying to keep my expression neutral, and wait for him to continue. When he does look up, he frowns and I know I've slipped - I hope my look is not too negative.
"Don't look at me like that," he sighs. "I'm not a lovestruck idiot hoping we'll be together for real one day. I know you and I know me and I know we'll be together for real one day. So I can wait, but sometimes you make it so fucking hard. Sometimes I feel like I don't matter to you, but then you do something, like make dinner or have my order ready or tell me something no one else knows; it's small and practically insignificant to you, but it matters to me because I feel like I matter to you. That's why this is my favorite."
He finishes his little speech by stabbing his last piece of chicken, his eyes on me the entire time. Without thinking, I push my plate forward and move to the other side of the breakfast bar, so I'm stood right behind Louis. He jumps when I wrap my arms around his waist, even though he saw me coming, and he doesn't try to hide his surprise or stop me when I nudge him forwards to sit down. It's a tight fit and slightly uncomfortable because the stool is not that big, but I don't care and I don't think Louis does either. I pick up the fork he dropped and hover it in front of his lips.
"You're a sentimental sap, you know that," I murmur into his ear, placing my lips into his hair. "Maybe one day I'll understand you."
We say no more about it. If we do, it'll only end in an argument and we both know it.
Louis takes the fork and eats his chicken, understanding. When I'm done, I take his hand, leaving the empty plates on the bar.
"Now can we go back to bed? We need to complete the circle."
It's all the encouragement Louis needs.
He'll be getting another shower in the morning.
It's not Louis' alarm that wakes me up, the silly little song that plays every damn morning I'm here because he knows I hate it, but Louis himself wakes me up. The smile is most definitely for the fact that I don't have to listen to the stupid song, that and because I actually slept through the night.
It's the bed. That is all.
It takes me a couple of minutes to keep my eyes open properly and when I eventually do, he's leaning over me with a smile that's partly amused and partly sweet. I tap my hand against his cheek twice, then turn his head away.
Then I notice that he's fully dressed.
"What's with the frown?" he asks, looking very confused now.
I gesture to his suit lazily. He needs to fix it, he looks like he got dressed in the dark; his shirt is still untucked, his jacket is falling off one shoulder and his tie is all haphazard. He still manages to look good, though; the suit is all black, a nice contrast with the white shirt, and the tie actually matches the suit this time. It's one of those skinny ties - I think he looks better wearing one of those than the thick one's. Don't ask me why.
"You're dressed," I answer him softly. I'm still half asleep, my throat is all croaky. I have to cough to sound even remotely normal. "Why are you dressed?"
When I look even closer, I realize that he's not only dressed, but he has showered as well; his dark, blond hair is still a little damp and deliberately made to look messy because his clients find it attractive and when he makes himself look good, they are more willing to hire him.
Louis is technically an artist, went to a big, posh art school in Paris and everything thanks to a scholarship, but he's working for an architect firm for Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpius needed someone to help with the designs for a big project and Louis needed a job, more than that he needed money. He was about as poor then as I am now - but only because he wouldn't ask his family for money. That was three years ago and he hasn't left yet. I can't even remember the last time he actually painted. It's kinda sad.
But that's not the issue right now; why is he leaving me now?
"There's a new potential client at work," Louis says quietly, probably hoping I'll go back to sleep. Apparently I need it. "He asked for me, so I have to go."
"Oh," I mutter, feeling oddly dejected by the fact that he's leaving. Then I remember that I get the whole bed to myself, plus access to his kitchen, and I feel better again. "Have fun. He'll love you, he'll hire you on the spot."
"I like your optimism," Louis chuckles. But there's a serious glint in his eyes. "Try saving some of it for yourself, yeah?"
Louis doesn't expect an answer, which is just as well because I don't want to give the dick one, and just kisses me quickly. Too quickly for me to protest about not wanting one. And I am taking control of his apartment, so I suppose I can forget about his optimism comment and allow it.
"You know where the spare key is, I'll get it back when I see you. Or you could just keep it," he adds slyly.
Once again, I think about his kitchen and his bed and he's not always in either vision. I shake my head before I change my mind. "I'll be at the club tonight. If you don't come, though I know you will because you always do, I'll see you at the café tomorrow morning."
"See you," he says before kissing me again and leaving. I roll onto my stomach and try to go back to sleep.
But I can't. His scent still lingers, vividly reminding me of last night, and I start to wish he was back with me so we could continue. I do what any sane man would do when a thought like that enters his mind; I remove myself from the object of my thoughts, the bed in this case, and decide to take a much needed shower.
My much needed shower is only a quick one; I literally stand there in the warm water long enough to wash my hair and body, then get out. I love Louis's place, and though I make jokes about being left alone here often, I don't really feel all that comfortable when he's not with me. I feel like because it's not mine, I shouldn't be intruding. I know Louis doesn't mind, in fact he's insistent on me moving in with him, but he's not here to try to convince of that, so I'm not going to stay.
I dry myself in the bathroom, wrap my towel around my waist and go back to the bedroom. Louis' wardrobe fills one side of the wall, with a doors that slide open rather than open outwards, and I swear he has more clothes than his sister in here. I have no idea where to start when I push open the door, so I go the the end and work my way down. I just know I left some clothes here last time, in fact I'm pretty sure I have my own little wardrobe of clothes that Louis seems to have collected over time. I just can't seem to find any of them.
...I should have started at the other end. I'd have found my clothes straight away.
So, Louis has less than I'd previously stated; the left side of the wardrobe looks like it could very well be mine. My t-shirts and shirts are hung up on the rack, my jeans are folded on the shelf, my suit that I wore for Louis' birthday last year - I wondered where I put that - is hanging at the end.
It's like I really do live here.
I grab a plain grey t-shirt, along with a pair of jeans, and throw them on the bed, then I scan the wardrobe for underwear and socks. I quickly realize that they're not there, though I know I've left them as well, and I think about just going commando because his won't fit me until I spy the small drawers by the bed. Louis has identical mahogany bedside tables on each side of the bed, each with three draws. Since Louis always sleeps on the right, it's the right drawers I see him open to grab his underwear. When I stay, I sleep on the left...
I open the top draw and there is my underwear, while my socks are in draw number two.
"Of course," I mutter. I can't believe I've never noticed before, but then again why would I? I usually find my clothes hanging on the back of the door and just assume that he took them from his wardrobe. I never had a reason to suspect I had my own space here.
I dress as quickly as I showered and make a quick breakfast, just an omelette, and eat at the breakfast bar. Then I wash the plates in the sink, leaving them to dry on the side, find the spare key and my jacket, complete with cigarettes and lighters, and leave.
It's not as cold as it was yesterday, but the chill still seems to cover my entire body and I thrust my hands into my pockets as I walk.
It's still early, not yet nine, but people are already out and about, going to work and such. I'm thankful I have the day off at the café, so in theory I can do whatever I like until six, when I go to the club to help prepare for opening, but I can't think of a single thing I want to do. How depressing is that?
But I don't want to go to the café just in case people see that I'm a loser - and by people, I mean Healer Sean - so I wonder around the city, eventually coming across the shopping center.
It's almost half ten now and I don't feel so pathetic about having nothing to do; Molly, Louis' cousin and a member of his family who I can actually call a friend, usually comes here on the weekends to browse for new clothes. I'm sure I'll find her. In fact I know exactly where to look.
It takes me quite a few minutes to get from the front of the shopping center to the large clothes store, even with me taking the escalators instead of the stairs, but I haven't missed her. In fact, she's still in the exact same part of the store I thought she'd be in. Molly is absorbed in her shopping, she has no idea I'm even here. In one hand she has a black and purple checkered mini skirt, a short-sleeved, purple t-shirt in the other. I can see the skulls dotted around the fabric from here and the chain that goes from the top right shoulder to the bottom left edge of the t-shirt.
When she was fifteen, she met this girl and was introduced to punk/rock. She's long grown out of the phase, but she doesn't turn off the music if it comes on and she still thinks the clothes are 'cute'.
Molly Weasley is strange, but so much fun to be around.
Not thinking of my... romantic relationship with Louis, he, Molly and Chloe are pretty much my best friends.
"It suits you," I call out, startling her.
Molly looks up quickly, letting out a relieved breath when she sees me, and lowers her arms. Her smile is wide and oh-so-false; the first sign that something is wrong. The next is what she says: "Hey, Frankster!"
I hate the name, but only my best friend's know that, that's why it's a code - someone's with her.
"No," I mouth. Molly nods guiltily. Damn it.
"Moved in with Louis yet, Frankie?" her annoying sweet voice says from behind me. "Keep stringing him along and he'll soon find someone else."
I glare at Molly and she shrugs sympathetically; she knows it's the one behind me I want to be glaring at. Her. I don't know why people like her so much.
Okay, so she's not the worst person that's not in my close circle of friends, Roxanne Weasley is the worst, but I still don't like her.
I turn slowly, to meet the gleaming eyes and smug grin that belongs to Molly's sister. "Hello, Lucy. And don't worry about me and Louis; we'll be married with two kids before you know it. You're stuck with me."
Lucy shakes her head mockingly and plays along. "Damn." She turns to her sister. "Will you hurry up? I want to eat."
"Fine," Molly huffs, turning to me. She holds the top and skirt against her body. "What do you think, Franks?"
I nod. "Very you, Mols. Bit cold, though, don't you think?"
"That's what tights are for," she replies with an eye-roll. "They'll go very nicely with those boots you helped me pick out a few days ago."
I agree. With a satisfied smile, Molly goes off to pay, leaving me alone with the she-Devil. Lucy's smile is pleasant now, warm and friendly even, but I'm not fooled. She's just dying to ask me questions about me and Louis, she's practically obsessed with knowing why and, more importantly, how Louis could put up with me for so long.
"So, where is Louis?" she asks.
I stick to one word answers. "Work."
"What brought you here?"
"Ha ha," she says dryly. I shrug.
Molly comes back, bag in hand, and threads her arm through mine. She's a lot smaller than me, her head barely reaches my chest, even in her boots, but she doesn't care; it allows her to rest her head on me while we walk. Lucy stands on my other side, also reaching my chest, but she doesn't touch me - she doesn't like me that much. She looks up every now and again, trying to maintain some form of eye contact, and continues with her multitude of questions about me and Louis, though trying to be subtle about it.
She's quite successful at it, too. It's just that we know her so well.
"Enough, Lucy, and pick a place to eat," Molly snaps.
That shuts her up. Molly is one of the most easy-going people you'll ever meet - she's more like their mother, while Lucy is like their father - but even she can be scary. Lucy doesn't mess with her sister. It's part of the reason why they weren't all that close until after Lucy graduated from Hogwarts - before then, there was too much sibling rivalry. Each sister wanted to be the best for their parents and did what they could to be so.
Now that they live in different houses, with different jobs and have practically different lives, it's easier for them now.
But seeing them, seeing any of the Weasley family, makes it very easy for me to be glad that I'm an only child.
Lucy picks a burger place and orders the largest, greasiest meal she can see. I frown, not understanding how she can eat so much for someone so small, but I order the same because it sounds delicious. Molly goes for something smaller and she makes small talk while we wait.
"So, why are you here, Franks?" she asks.
"Louis left me for work and I didn't want to stay in his apartment alone," I answer, grimacing.
Both sisters notice how I say his apartment not the apartment, like I need to reaffirm that it has absolutely nothing to do with me, but Molly stops Lucy from speaking - judging from her yelp and how her face is scrunched up like she's in pain, I guess that Molly kicked her under the table. It's the only way she could have reached her sister.
Molly ignores Lucy's narrowed eyes and changes the subject quickly. Apparently we're not talking about Louis today.
"How's your cooking coming along? I want to know when I can be your official taster again."
"As soon as I have new things to make, I'll let you know," I promise. "And it's going slowly, I've been working."
"You really need to take a break, Francis," she chastises me, wagging her finger at me and everything.
"Don't call me that," I warn her; no one calls me by my given name. "Maybe I'll take a look at my schedule tomorrow when I get home from work, see how many hours I can cut."
"Good," Molly replies approvingly. But she doesn't believe me; she knows exactly when I'm lying. I know she's just humoring me.
Neither of say anything more on the subject of work - food's here.
I left the sisters after another hour of shopping, went home for another nap, made something quick to eat and got changed. There's no 'uniform' for the club like there is for the café; I throw on a good pair of jeans and a nice shirt and leave.
The club I work at is called Eclipse and it's not like other clubs. Well, on the outside it is; there's a bar, a stage and a dance floor, seats around the walls, private rooms for parties. But at the end of the club, by the bar, stands a special bouncer, who has a list of exclusive members. You have to give consent, fill out forms and have a special pass before you go into the back rooms. Once through the door, you find yourself at a set of stairs. Down those stairs you have these room where humans go, humans who willingly give their blood and take blood in return. Vampire blood, that is.
Yep. Eclipse is a vampire club.
Even the owners, my bosses, are vampires. They're cool, though. I'm actually good friends with them; I'm one of the only human workers there, so they sort of see it as their 'job' to take care of me around the other vampires. Not that I'm really scared of them; there's a huge misconception when it comes to this species. They're not monsters, at least not all of them and definitely not the one's allowed in the club. The humans who go in the back are regulars, as are the vampires who feed in there, and they do so so that they don't have to hunt humans. Most are actually friends with each other, or at least acquaintances.
Working at the club is one of the things Louis and I tend to argue about, but it's not because of the vampires, it's because he, like Molly, thinks I work too much. He's actually fascinated with vampires.
But I have to work if I want to make money and Anthony and Skylar, the owners, pay very well.
He doesn't seem to get that.
Anthony is already here when I step through the doors. He looks sixteen, that's how old he was when he was turned, but he's really over two hundred years old. He has light brown hair that stops at his ears and dark blue eyes that seem to shine when the light hits them. He's quick to joke, but can be serious just as fast and he has no tolerance for people who annoy him.
"Hey, you," he says, not looking up from his book; he's looking at the accounts. "Tommy's downstairs and I've sorted here, so just relax until we're ready to open. Have a drink."
"Cool," I murmur, sliding across the bar to get to the other side. I grab a bottle of lager and stand besides my boss. "How are we doing?"
"Good. Tommy will be impressed."
Tommy is another vampire, Eclipse's manager and a friend to Ant and Sky. He's apparently one of the oldest in the world, along with the legendary Vega family, but I've never really listened to the stories. Louis would love to know, though.
We share a couple of drinks, during which Tommy comes back up and opens the door. It's late January, still winter, and the sun is down a lot earlier than it would be during the summer.
Work begins when the creatures of the night come out to play.
A/N: This is not a dark story, Frankie just happens to work in a vampire club, so it'll come up a few times, but it is not a main part of the story. It makes sense in my head for vampires to have somewhere safe to feed and why not a club? :P In my head canon, they went to Regulation and Control, as well as Law Enforcement, to keep everything legal and safe for both vampire and human.
The Vega family are of my own creation. I like to borrow them for my vampire stories. :)
I hope you enjoyed. Please let me know what you think.
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